The term “branding police” can sometimes have a negative connotation. After all, your job is enforcement and control—making sure that nobody steps wrong when it comes to anything even remotely related to brand communications. As a result, brand compliance becomes an oppressive notion: something people dread.
And yet you can’t relax your so-called “iron grip” or bend the brand guidelines. If you do, then how can you guarantee a consistent brand experience for customers?
The answer isn’t enforcement, but rather enablement.
Part of the reason your brand assets go off-kilter in the first place is that you don’t have the resources to answer every one-off request. As a result, other teams are left to fend for themselves by creating bootleg versions of your beautiful work. And that causes brand problems.
To solve this, you can make it easier for them to access, use, or request brand assets tailored to their situation.
Here are a few ways to do that:
Make assets easier to share
Sales is in the business of being helpful to prospects. And your job is to help sales be helpful. But you don’t want to step on toes, and you don’t want to hold them up when they need something fast. So what’s a marketer to do?
Organize your assets for easier browsing and downloading by putting them in a central public location. If possible, label or tag each item in the library so users can filter for what they need. The easier it is to access, the more often people will use your material.
Help them help themselves
There’s nothing inherently wrong with a sales rep personalizing one of your assets. The mistake comes when they change something they shouldn’t.
You can balance control and freedom by providing pre-built design templates of common assets. These templates can have all the critical elements (color, font, locked layout) but open up specific areas of the page that allow the sales rep to fill in personal, company, or product information.
Give access to deny access
The subhead may sound like a paradox, but here’s how it works. As we said before, teams start doing their own thing if they’re not getting what they need from you. So the best way to limit bootleg designs is to give them easier access to you and your assets.
Set up a formal process that funnels all asset requests into one area. This could be an online form or single contact point. This makes it easier to triage those requests in a way that leaves your team plenty of breathing room to run your own projects. And if you implement the other two suggestions above, then this process becomes even more effective.
By enabling teams—by being helpful—marketing can answer the needs of their stakeholders while still maintaining brand consistency. All you need is the right mix of organization, tools, and process to make it happen.